Paul Toomer, the mould-breaking President of RAID shares the successes and challenges behind a decade of growth, and the coming evolution of the diving industry.
DIVE TRAINING IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN
RAID has taken a new, and we believe, a far better approach to diver training. It starts by ensuring we train great instructors and in so doing, we are literally rewriting diver training standards creating new benchmarks of excellence. For example, our minimum requirements and prerequisites to enter instructor training necessitate almost twice that compared to current industry standards. We feel this is essential to ensure divers in training are only exposed to highly-skilled, truly experienced and extremely dedicated dive professionals.
We also require all RAID instructors to have completed a Deep Diver and Nitrox Course as these are major interest areas for all divers and where unparalleled expertise and a state of the art approach to training is needed.
At RAID we feel there are no short cuts to training. For example, our most popular entry-level program: Open Water 20, requires more in-water hours developing skills than is generally required by industry standards. This means new divers are able to build their skill level whilst maintaining their personal confidence and safety. This general philosophy is maintained by RAID professionals throughout all courses.
To be a RAID instructor, or even a RAID entry-level diver, your buoyancy control needs to be at the top of the skills list. While diving is a safe sport if you firstly gain proper training and follow the safety rules, the Divers Alert Network (DAN) statistics have revealed that dive accidents often reflect poor buoyancy control and therefore is a major risk factor in all forms of diving. This is why we at RAID put so much emphasis on great buoyancy control at every level of training. For example, the RAID Open Water 20 course covers buoyancy skills generally reserved for a separate specialty course with other training agencies, because we believe it is a prerequisite to ensure safe diving.